Immunized, one way or another
COVID immunity is a tricky concept | Sept. 22
This is a well-done and important article. I am not sure why it appears in the guise of fact-checking the governor (no one’s “go to” for science) nor what’s so tricky about COVID immunity (people are different). Nonetheless, there are two takeaways.
First, we need a new language. We ought to desist from using the vaccination/unvaccinated dichotomy. What we really have is a continuum of relative immunity status. Those who have recovered and received one vaccine dose deserve the gold angel wings pin (surprised?). Those recovered but without a follow-up jab, and those getting the double vaccine dose earn a silver. Those whose immunity was created — either way — greater than, let’s say, eight months ago, or is partial, based on a single dose, gets the bronze. A certificate for those unable to compete is also needed.
Second, we don’t have to guess. We can do more antibody testing and know. We need to regain public confidence that immunity, however established, works and is both a valid basis for privilege distinctions and a useful way of targeting the vaccination campaign. There’s nothing new here. Many experts have challenged the natural immunity deniers and have been baffled by why government leaders, left and right, still make no practical use of immunity status. The ratios are staggering. Unwittingly, we have disincentivized what we want.
Pat Byrne, Largo
A case of incest
Texas abortion law in Fla.? | Sept. 21
As a registered nurse, I took care of a 14-year-old developmentally delayed child as she went through labor and eventually had to have a C-section to deliver her baby. She had been sexually assaulted by an uncle. This was in the 1960s. As a young nurse, I was at a loss to explain to this child why she was in so much pain and could not help in much of any way except to hold her hand during contractions before doctors opted for a C-section. I would like to see legislators work on how to prevent abortions by helping to stop sexual and domestic abuse. I would like to see them work on how to help young women who did not plan to get pregnant by funding care for them — not just medical but living expenses. I would like to see them help newborn babies by funding more day care settings for mothers who cannot work because they cannot afford day care. I would like to see them mandate sex education in the schools so young women have the knowledge to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Legislators who state they are pro-life should step up and be pro-life after birth also.
Wanda Barker, St. Petersburg
Keep politics out
Most states have curtailed local health powers | Sept. 19
Reading this as a physician, I was shocked by the frightening increase in the politicization of this pandemic, and now the steps politicians are taking to keep decision-making over medical issues — of all kinds — in their hands. I say of “all kinds” because they don’t know what they are creating and destroying. State legislatures across the country are essentially and effectively silencing the knowledge, voices and recommendations of those previously cast with making public health policies and decisions. The organized medical minds are being told “thanks but no thanks, we don’t need you anymore. We can do your job.” State and national political legislative branches have few politicians who are physicians, or even have doctorates in public health. Yet they are taking the power of these health policy institutions to govern medical emergencies both now and going forward. Legislators are making themselves the medical voice for the country without the education, knowledge or training to do the job. And all because these institutions and people had the nerve to tell you to wear a mask and get a vaccine. This will not just affect this pandemic, but regular outbreaks of whooping cough, RSV and the occasional measles outbreak. However, the public will never know about these until it’s too late because no one will be monitoring.
Gail Dudley, Sun City Center
Careful at train crossings
Rail Safety Week
Did you know that in Florida, there were 87 railroad crossing collisions last year? Most of us take safety seriously every day. We buckle up when driving a car, and we use sidewalks instead of walking down the middle of the road. But it also is important to make safe choices around railroad tracks and trains. It is Rail Safety Week, a national public awareness campaign sponsored by Operation Lifesaver to raise awareness about rail safety. Operation Lifesaver was started nearly 50 years ago to save lives and encourage caution near railroad tracks and trains. Through public safety education campaigns and partnerships with railroads, law enforcement agencies, and transportation agencies, we can make communities safer. Let’s work together to stop track tragedies - not just this week, but every week. To learn more, visit www.oli.org and help spread the word. With your help, we can make preventable railroad crossing and trespassing incidents a thing of the past.
Pete Petree, Apopka
The writer is volunteer chairman of Florida Operation Lifesaver.